Arsenal have drawn into Group B along with Sevilla, PSV Eindhoven, and FC Lens in the Champions League. It’s a perfectly fine draw for the Gunners, and Mikel Arteta’s side should be favored to win the group. As a whole, the group is probably below average strength compared to the others in the draw. Arsenal could have managed an easier draw but also could have drawn significantly worse. The Gunners avoided the European blue blood clubs and the “landmine” teams whose coefficients placed them into pots below their true level.
Sevilla was a fantastic team for Arsenal to draw from Pot 1. The Spanish side were in the top pot by virtue of their Europa League win last season. There are no true easy outs in the Champions League, but among the teams in Pot 1, Sevilla were one of the more favorable draws along with Benfica and Feyenoord.
From Pot 3, Arsenal drew PSV Eindhoven, who were in the Gunners’ Europa League group last season. The two sides split the two meetings, each winning on their home ground. Arsenal deployed a rotated lineup at the Philips Stadion with six changes from the Premier League starting XI in their 2-0 loss. To be fair, Mikel Arteta had also made six changes from his preferred XI against PSV at the Emirates the week before and won 1-0. The Dutch side finished second in the Eredivisie last season.
RC Lens rounds out Group B. The French side finished second in Ligue Un last season, just a point behind PSG, but are off to a slow start this year. They’ve collected a solitary point from their opening three matches.
The matchdays are September 19-20, October 3-4, October 24-25, November 7-8, November 28-29, and December 12-13. Arsenal lucked out with travel, too. It’s a short, easy trip to both Eindhoven and Lens, and Spain is less than a three hour flight.
Here are all the Champions League Groups:
Group B: Sevilla, Arsenal, PSV Eindhoven, RC Lens
Group C: Napoli, Real Madrid, Braga, Union Berlin
Group D: Benfica, Inter Milan, FC Salzburg, Real Sociedad
Group E: Feyenoord, Atletico Madrid, Lazio, Celtic
Group G: Manchester City, RB Leipzig, Red Star Belgrade, Young Boys
Group H: Barcelona, Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Royal Antwerp
Group A could prove tricky for Manchester United. Galatasaray are a solid side and RAMS Park is an incredibly difficult place to play. Group D looks particularly weak. Group E is nothing to write home about, either. Neither Manchester City (Group G) nor Barcelona (Group H) should have much trouble winning their groups.
But my goodness, Group F. That’s a nightmare draw for all the clubs involved. Welcome back to the Champions League, Newcastle. Enjoy the Group of Death.
If Arsenal don’t get out of their group, they’ll have nobody to blame but themselves.